The multi-award winning 1989 film Coming Out brings the sexual awakening of a school teacher to the fore - a young man in the throes of an identity crisis which gradually leads into a slow burn acceptance.
Passionate and dedicated teacher Philipp Klarmann (Matthias Freihof) is at the beginning of his career at a new school, and when he literally crashes into fellow teacher Tanja (Dagmar Manzel) the two develop a relationship, landing them in a commitment to marry. However, this union doesn't seem to fit Philipp who wrestles with his same sex attraction and keen interest in cruising gay bars where he meets the seductive Matthias (Dirk Kummer), who Philipp instantly falls in love with right after their first sexual encounter. What follows is Philipp's journey into self-discovery and truth telling, where everyone who peppers his life from Tanja to Matthias through to his co-workers and mother (Walfriede Schmitt) all face the consequences of his coming out.
With tender performances that bring the sharp writing to life and poignant set pieces, Coming Out is a queer masterwork at the cusp of the transition of the late eighties and into a new decade of East Germany. Featuring transgender activist Charlotte von Mahlsdorf and real-life Nazi resistance fighter Werner Dissel in cameo roles, director Heiner Carow's film is a seminal classic of European gay themed cinema during the period where America's New Queer Cinema movement was emerging.